Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Six Degrees of a Coaching Change: Tracking the Coaching Carousel Part I

It started on February 7th.

That's when Heath Schroyer had his contract terminated by the University of Wyoming. Brought in to clean up a program rife with academic and behavioral problems, the higher-ups in the Cowboy athletic department seemingly got fed up with a mediocre basketball team. Schroyer was just 49-68 in his three and a half seasons in Laramie.

It ended 136 days later.

(photo credit: Halcyon Hoops)

On June 23rd, Joe Jones, an associate head coach at Boston College last season, took over for Pat Chambers, the new Penn State head coach, as the head coach of Boston University. Jones' hiring at BU capped a spring that saw 54 Division I head coaching jobs change hands and saw at least eight different head coaches leverage a raise and an extension out of their current employers by expressing -- or by having the media express -- their interest in a different position.

How did it all happen? What events created the biggest ripples? How far did those ripples extend?

Over the coming days, we will be chronicling the story of the 2011 Coaching Carousel. This was originally supposed to be a single post, but the more research we did and the further that we dug into the back ground, the more interesting it got. For example, can you guess how Keno Davis played a role in the hiring of Fred Hill as an assistant at Northwestern? Or how Paul Hewitt factored into Jamal Coombs-McDaniel's decision to transfer to Hofstra? Or how in the world Pat Knight getting axed at Texas Tech allowed Jones to be named the head coach at BU?

A couple of disclaimers: for starters, we are only looking at the spin cycles started by a head coaching change. Dissecting all of the movement among assistant coaches would be far too time-consuming and, frankly, not quite as interesting. We also will be limiting the folks on the "carousel" to official assistants. Tracking why a video coordinator took the director of basketball operations position at a fellow SWAC school isn't going to make it onto this list.

And as always, please inform us as to anything we may have missed.

So without further ado, the 2011 Coaching Carousel Part I:

February 7th: Heath Schroyer is fired as the head coach of the Wyoming basketball team after leading the Cowboys to just an 8-15 record, 1-8 in the MWC, at that point in the season. Fred Langley, who was the associate head coach at the time, took over for Schroyer as the interim coach for the remainder of the season. The Cowboys went 2-6 under Langley, closing out the season with a loss in the first round of the MWC Tournament, but it wasn't enough to save Langley's job.
  • March 31st: Wyoming officially names Larry Shyatt their new head coach. Its his second stint as the head coach of the Cowboys, leading the team to a 12-16 record in the 1997-1998 season. Shyatt was the associate head coach at Florida last season.

  • April 5th: Shyatt's first move as head coach was to scoop up former UCLA assistant coach Scott Duncan to take over the associate head coaching position at Wyoming. That's the same Scott Duncan that may have left Ben Howland to deal with an NCAA violation for talking to Sports Illustrated about a recruit. Shyatt also hired his son, who was an assistant at North Florida, to his coaching staff.

  • April 12th: To replace Shyatt -- and a couple of other members of his staff that left during the spring -- Florida head coach Billy Donovan hires Norm Roberts and John Pelphrey. Norm Roberts was replaced at St. John's a year ago by Steve Lavin. We'll get into the Pelphrey situation in a bit.

  • April 18th: Shyatt hired former Kentucky player Allen Edwards as the final member of his staff. Edwards spent last season at Western Kentucky.

  • June 7th: Jake Morton replaced Allen Edwards on Ken McDonald's staff at Western Kentucky. Morton had been an assistant at Miami the past four seasons.

  • June 8th: Howland replaces Duncan with Korey McCray, a 32 year old AAU coach for the Atlanta Celtics. The goal? For the Bruins to create a pipeline into the fertile recruiting grounds of Georgia.

  • June 20th: It only took two weeks for McCray's hiring to begin to pay dividends, as Jordan Adams, a talented, 6'5" recruit from Georgia, committed to UCLA. He cited McCray's hiring as the reason for his commitment.
February 27th: This was a bad day to be a mediocre head basketball coach. Georgia State's Rod Barnes got the axe before he even had a chance to lead his team into the CAA Tournament (although it may have worked in his favor, but more on that later). Dave Calloway was forced out at Monmouth after yet another disappointing season at the New Jersey school, amassing all of 48 wins the past five seasons. At Stetson, Derek Waugh ran into the same issue that Calloway did. Despite winning by double digits at Wake Forest this past season, Waugh was a casualty of another disappointing season.
  • March 20th: Ron Hunter didn't hesitate. After spending 17 years as the head coach at IUPUI -- you might know him as the coach that sparked the Samaritan's Feet movement in college coaching -- Hunter jumped at the opportunity to take over at Georgia State, a school many believe is a sleeping giant situated in Atlanta.

    • April 22nd: Todd Howard, who had spent the past 10 seasons as the associate head coach under Hunter, was named Hunter's successor.

    • April 28th: Ron Hunter announced his staff at Georgia State. Darryl LaBarrie, who lost his job at Georgia Tech when Paul Hewitt got fired, was hired as the associate head coach. Claude Purdue was hired as an assistant coach after working up Tim Floyd at UTEP last season. And finally, Everick Sullivan, who spent last season as the associate head coach at Eastern Kentucky, was hired as an assistant coach.

    • June 10th: Eastern Kentucky replaced Sullivan with Richie Riley, who had spent the past two seasons with Coastal Carolina.

    • June 27th: Completing the cycle, Cliff Ellis hired Mamadou N'Diaye to replace Riley. N'Diaye played for Ellis at Auburn.

  • March 29th: King Rice, the man who just may have the best name in the college coaching profession, was named the new head coach at Monmouth. Rice had spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach under Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt.

    • April 15th: Stallings didn't wait long to replace Rice on his staff, snagging up Tulsa's associate head coach David Cason to come on as an assistant. Cason played for Stallings when Stallings was the head coach of Southern Illinois.

    • May 3rd: To replace Cason on his staff, Doug Wojcik hired Emmett Davis as an assistant coach. Davis lost his job as the head coach at Colgate this spring.

    • May 13th: Rice announced his staff at Monmouth. He hired former teammates Brian Reese (who was an assistant at High Point) and Derrick Phelps (the video coordinator at Fordham) as well as longtime coach Rick Callahan, who spent the past two seasons at Radford.

  • April 20th: Stetson kept it in conference with their head coaching hire. The Hatters dipped their hands into Rick Byrd's Belmont program and hired longtime assistant Casey Alexander to his first head coaching position. Alexander had learned under Byrd, who turned Belmont into a low-major powerhouse, for 16 seasons, the past nine as associate head coach. Byrd replaced Alexander with (a different) Mark Price.
March 3rd: Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dave Balza got reassigned, taking over as the executive director of the Eagles' Club. Balza wasn't technically fired, as he will work through the remainder of his contract, but he won't be doing it as FGCU's basketball coach.
  • March 31st: Andy Enfield will be. Enfield, who was an assistant under Leonard Hamilton at Florida State since 2006, will be just the second head coach in the history of FGCU.

  • April 15th: Enfield named his staff at Florida Gulf Coast. He brought Michael Fly with him from Florida State, where Fly had been the video coordinator for three years. He pulled Marty Richter from a position as a scout for ESPN. And finally, Enfield added Kevin Norris, who had spent last two season with Buzz Peterson at UNC-Wilmington.

  • April 16th: To replace Norris at UNCW, Peterson hired Andre Gray from Western Carolina where he was their recruiting coordinator.

  • April 19th: The replace Enfield on his staff, Hamilton hired former Nevada assistant coach Dennis Gates. This isn't his first stop in Tallahassee. Gates was a graduate assistant in 2004-2005.
March 7th: The bloodiest day in the 2011 coaching carousel, five head coaches lost their job on March 7th of this year. Pat Knight got the axe at Texas Tech after another disappointing season and Jim Les lost his job at Bradley, although both of them will be coaching next season (more on that later). After losing 19 straight to close out a four win season, Pat Kennedy was relieved of his duties at Towson. Poor academic performance and not an 8-23 record did in Tony Ingle at Kennesaw State. And finally, Kirk Earlywine's contract was not renewed by Eastern Washington.
  • March 20th: In what may end up being the best hire of this year's coaching carousel, Texas Tech hired Billy Gillispie, also known as the guy that turned UTEP and Texas A&M around almost immediately before flaming out in spectacular fashion at Kentucky. Don't be surprised if Gillispie is able to make the Red Raiders relevant.

    • April 19th: Chris Walker was hired by Gillispie as the associate head coach of the Red Raiders. He left Villanova, where he had the same title, to take the job at Texas Tech.

    • May 9th: To replace Walker, Villanova head coach Jay Wright hired former assistant Billy Lange. At the time, Lange was the head coach at the Naval Academy, opening up yet another head coaching gig. This is when it starts to get a bit crazy.

    • May 23rd: With the head coaching gig open at Navy, Ed DeChellis opted to leave his position as the head coach at Penn State to take the job. That sure does say something about Penn State hoops, doesn't it?

      • June 16th: Ed DeChellis announced his coaching staff at Navy. As you might imagine, it will look quite similar to the one he had at Penn State. Kurt Kanaskie and Dan Earl made the move from State College to Annapolis as associate head coaches and DJ Black made the move as an assistant coach. DeChellis also announced that Jason Crafton and Aaron Goodman will remain on with the new coaching staff.

    • June 1st: Surprisingly, Gillispie hired Derrick Jasper as one of his graduate assistants. I say surprisingly because it wasn't a secret that Jasper, who played for Gillispie for a season at Kentucky, did not get along well with his head coach.

    • June 3rd: Penn State announced the hiring of Pat Chambers as the successor to Ed DeChellis. Chambers comes from Boston University, where he led the Terriers to the 2011 NCAA Tournament in his second season at the helm. Coincidentally enough, Chambers was the associate head coach at Villanova until 2009, when he got the BU job and was replaced by Chris Walker whose decision to head to Texas Tech resulted in Chambers' move to the Big Ten.

    • June 23rd: Joe Jones was named the head coach at Boston University, which filled the last available head coaching position. A former assistant at Villanova, Jones just finished his first season as the associate head coach at Boston College after leaving his gig as the head coach at Columbia.

  • March 27th: After spending three seasons as the head coach at Kent State -- the last two of which he won the MAC coach of the year award -- Geno Ford left to take over for Jim Les at Bradley. Ford didn't exactly leave KSU on the best terms as he is currently in the midst of a legal battle with the school.

    • April 6th: Ron Senderoff, who spent the past seven years as an assistant coach under Ford at Kent State, was promoted to head coach.

      • April 15th: Senderhoff kept most of the Kent State staff intact, but he did hire former player Eric Haut as an assistant. Haut had spent the past two years as an assistant coach at TCU.

      • June 2nd: SMU's Reggie Brown was hired to replace Haut at TCU. Brown had spent two seasons at SMU previously.

    • April 28th: Jaden Uken, who was the director of basketball operations for Ford at Kent State, followed him to Bradley where he was named an assistant coach.

    • June 13th: Ford completed his staff at Bradley by hiring former Boise State head coach Greg Graham to be his lead assistant.

  • March 29th: Eastern Washington went with a non-traditional method of hiring a new head coach -- they reached into the D-III ranks, signing Jim Hayford away from Whitworth, where he had won 20 games the past eight seasons.

    • April 19th: Hayford announced his coaching staff. Craig Fortier came with him from Whitworth and Shantay Liggins remained on the staff from the Kirk Earlywine era. The most surprising hire, however, was Craig Ehlo, the former NBA player who kicked off his coaching career.

  • April 4th: Towson hired one of the fastest risers in college hoops in Pat Skerry. Skerry, who got his first head coaching job at just 26, went from Rhode Island to Providence to Pitt in the span of three years.

    • April 19th: Jamie Dixon replaced Skerry, who was only on his staff for one season, with Bill Barton, who spent the previous year at Marshall.

    • April 26th: The first hire that Skerry made at Towson was his former colleague Kevin Clark. Clark and Skerry worked together as assistants at URI.

      • June 27th: Jimmy Baron replaced Clark at URI with Lenny Harris, a longtime assistant at NC State that was out of a job after Sidney Lowe was fired.

    • May 14th: The son of Bill Murray and a former assistant at both Arizona and Wagner, Skerry added to his coaching staff by hiring Luke Murray.

    • May 29th: Skerry completed his coaching staff by trying to ramp up his recruiting. His final hire was Kenny Johnson, who is affiliated with DC's Team Takeover AAU program.

    • June 3rd: To replace Barton at Marshall, Tom Herrion hired Jorge Fernandez. Fernandez had spent the past seven years at Miami, the last four as associate head coach, before having to find a new job when Frank Haith went to Missouri.

  • April 20th: Kennesaw State opted to hire former VMI big man Lewis Preston as their new head coach in large part due to Preston's emphasis on academics. Preston left his post as a Penn State assistant to take the KSU gig.

    • May 11th: Preston's first hire at KSU was Jimmy Lallathin, who was promoted to assistant coach in 2010-2011 in his fourth year on the Miami-OH staff.

      • June 14th: Charlie Coles made an interesting hire to replace Lallathin on his staff with the Redhawks -- Todd Lickliter. If you remember, Lickliter was once a hotshot young coach with Butler before flaming out after three years at Iowa.

    • June 1st: Lewis Preston hired Mike Smith away from Jacksonville State. The two were teammates professionally in Finland.

    • June 22nd: Preston completed his staff at KSU by hiring Tim Morris, who spent last season as a graduate assistant with Alabama.

1 comment:

greyCat said...

Ahhh, check your ticker Rob, after "resting" for five days, the carousal turned again as Bethune-Cookman fired 10 year veteran coach (and former player) Clifford Reed for cause, even though Reed logged the best season in over 30 years, the third consecutive winning season for Reed and Bethune-Cookman.